Many of us have heard this before: If you drink enough water, you can cleanse your body and bloodstream. This in turn will prevent a buildup of toxins that may cause your skin to break out. The theory sounds logical enough. Unfortunately, it isn't true.
The American Academy of Dermatology does not recognize the act of drinking water as a method for healing or preventing breakouts. In general, drinking plenty of water is beneficial because your skin needs moisture to stay healthy. Water alone, however, will not cure your acne [source: Archer].
That does not mean you should give up on water entirely. Drinking water instead of other refreshments when you are thirsty can keep you hydrated and plump up your skin. And part of the theory above is true: Water does help flush waste from your body more quickly, and that is a good thing.
Extra water on the surface of your skin doesn't make much of an acne cure, either. Depending on what type of cleanser you use, excessive washing could actually inflame rather than soothe your acne. Abrasive soaps, masks, scrubs, astringents and toners are all bad ideas for acne-prone skin, too [source: AcneNet: Twelve].
Cleansing removes the dirt and oils from your skin, which is good, but only to a certain degree. If you dry out your skin too much, it will simply overcompensate by producing more oil. A good rule of thumb is to wash your face twice a day and after a good, sweaty workout. This will prevent bacteria, one cause of acne, from building up.
Another potentially harmful acne myth is the notion that sun exposure will dry up zits. There's no proof that this works, and what's more, the sun can actually damage your skin and put you at risk for skin cancer [source: AcneNet].
The bottom line is that you should probably see your dermatologist if your acne becomes more than an occasional breakout, before you try any cures you've learned by word-of-mouth. To read more about acne prevention and skin treatments, check out the links on the following page.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- AcneNet. "Frequently Asked Questions about Acne." American Academy of Dermatology. (Accessed 9/13/09)http://www.skincarephysicians.com/acnenet/FAQ.html#6
- AcneNet. "Twelve Ways to Get Better Results from Acne Treatment: Effective Acne Treatment Often Requires More Than Medication." American Academy of Dermatology. (Accessed 9/13/09) http://www.skincarephysicians.com/acnenet/twelve_results.html
- Archer, Pamela. "The Complete Guide to Acne." (Accessed 9/13/09)http://books.google.com/books?id=WQmcQ_gtWXkC&pg=PT75&dq=drinking+water+cure+acne&ei=WwKtSs_UCovUNOTN3a0N&client=firefox-a#v=onepage&q=drinking water cure acne&f=false